A mystery box filled with miniatures to enhance your RPG campaigns. All official miniatures and for a bargain price!

Buy Miniatures Box »

Not sure what game to buy next? Buy a premium mystery box for two to four great games to add to your collection!

Buy Premium Box »
Subscribe Now »

If you’re only interested in receiving the newest games this is the box for you; guaranteeing only the latest games!

Buy New Releases Box »
Subscribe Now »

Looking for the best bang for your buck? Purchase a mega box to receive at least 4 great games. You won’t find value like this anywhere else!

Buy Mega Box »
Subscribe Now »

Buy 3, get 3% off - use code ZATU3·Buy 5, get 5% off - use code ZATU5

Solani Kickstarter Edition Review


“First Woman and First Man decided to use the remaining quartz pieces and dust, to fill the night sky with constellations in order to guide the Diné way of life.”

Solani is an abstract game for 1-4 players, by Final Frontier Games. Based on the Diné (Navajo) story of the creation of the stars, constellations and Milky Way, players take on the role of one of the story’s central characters, creating the constellations that will guide your people’s way of life. I was lucky enough to be given a Kickstarter copy of this game review, but after playing it did we have stars in our eyes? Or, were we left with a dark cloud covering our night’s sky?

A Constellation of Culture

Final Frontier Games have respectfully brought the Navajo culture into focus through Solani. Their retelling of the Diné story of the constellations and Milky Way through the medium of this board game is truly inspired. Having no prior knowledge of Native American traditions and stories, it was a real delight to see the beliefs of the Diné regarding the making of the stars relived in a short, comic strip style animation at the start of the rule book. More heart-warming than that, is the publishers request not to read or re-tell this story outside of the winter months of September to March, out of respect to the Navajo culture. I felt that this was a beautiful tribute to the Navajo tribe and also made the story that underpins Solani more clear and central to our play-throughs.

Twinkling Tiles, Dazzling Drafting- Gameplay style

In our house, tile-laying games are a family favourite. The replayability that comes from the random dealing and placement of tiles just adds an additional layer of fun and strategy to an otherwise easy to learn game. Another “top tier” game style for us is drafting (probably stemming from our love of Magic: The Gathering). Drafting in board games again adds an extra level of strategy and replayability due to the random allocation of resources and the decisions you have to make when selecting what works for your game, but that may also disadvantage your opponents.

What do you get if you add drafting and tile laying? Solani!

Before you lay your planets, stars or branch tiles to your sky, you must draft the tiles you want from a shared pool. I really enjoyed this fusion of two of my favourite styles of game play. Watching your opponents draft tiles you wanted and having to be fluid with your strategy, kept Solani interesting and engaging as turns progressed.

Lost in the Stars

Unfortunately for me, there was a fault in these stars. I found the rulebook for Solani to be unnecessarily complex, and it took a good bit of focus to actually work out what we were meant to do and how we were able to score. Whilst there is a very helpful glossary of terms on the back page of the rule book, this didn’t shorten or simplify the overall reading time. After we had a game or two, the game was actually very simple to pick up, however a clearer, more succinct version of the rules would have seen us getting to play our first game quicker, and without as much confusion when it came to tile placement and scoring.

Another element of the game - the Astral Features - were a real mind melt. The rules state that scoring criteria for each of the individual Astral tokens would be found on the matching Astral card. While this was true, trying to work out what that criteria actually was… well, let’s just say it was fairly tricky. The scoring criteria for each Astral token was relatively ambiguous and took us to watch a video or two online to try and find out how to score for these tokens correctly.

Hopefully, as the developers continue to refine and improve Solani, they will take on the feedback about the rules and scoring for the Astral tokens, but until then, this will continue to be a dark patch in an otherwise beautiful sky for me.

Stellar Components

One thing that I cannot commend Solani highly enough on is the quality of the components. Beautifully edge-stitched playmats, solid wooden tokens, thick cards and stunning velvet bags for the stars and the branches. The standard of the components in this game really was out of this world. More often than not, I expect Kickstarter versions of games to be like “prototypes” - good enough quality to be printed and dispatched to their backers, but with room for improvement in subsequent versions. Solani is different. Solani made me feel that there was very little to be desired with the quality of the game pieces. If only all games were as good as this!

Shine Bright Like a Diamond

Solani is a beautiful adventure into the world of the Navajo culture, and their story of the birth of the stars. Its combination of drafting and tile-laying gives this game a strong level of replayability and allows players to improve their strategies and reasoning, game after game. Whilst the complexity/ambiguity of explanations in the rule book had me questioning whether or not I needed a degree in astronomy to play this game, once we got down to it, Solani was a relaxing and enjoyable game full of hidden strategy and careful design.

I would highly recommend Solani to anyone who enjoys an abstract, tile-laying game with a deep, yet respectful, cultural theme.